Trump rips Fed again for hiking interest rates
For the second day in a row, President Trump on Friday ripped the Federal Reserve for hiking interest rates — continuing an aggressive assault on the central bank, which is normally off limits from presidential attacks.
“China, the European Union and others have been manipulating their currencies and interest rates lower, while the US is raising rates while the dollars [sic] gets stronger and stronger with each passing day — taking away our big competitive edge. As usual, not a level playing field,” the president tweeted.
“The United States should not be penalized because we are doing so well. Tightening now hurts all that we have done. The US should be allowed to recapture what was lost due to illegal currency manipulation and BAD Trade Deals. Debt coming due & we are raising rates — Really?” he added in a follow-up tweet
Presidents historically have refrained from criticizing the Fed, which is supposedly free from political interference.
The central bank’s job is to keep prices stable, including raising interest rates to prevent the economy from overheating and inflation from rising.
But Trump launched his attack first on Thursday during an interview with CNBC and continued on Friday on Twitter.
But current and former Fed officials didn’t sound overly concerned about the commander-in-chief’s perspective.
“The [Fed’s policy] committee has a mandate to keep inflation low and stable and obtain maximum employment for the US economy, so people can comment, including the president and other politicians, but it’s up to the committee to try to take the best action we can to achieve those objectives,” St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard said Friday.
Ex-Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher told CNBC that Trump was off course in his criticism of the Fed, which is headed by Trump appointee Jerome Powell.
“One of the hallmarks of our great American economy is preserving the independence of the Federal Reserve. No president should interfere with the workings of the Fed,” Fisher said.
“Were I Chairman Powell, I would ignore the President and do my job and I am confident he will do just that.”
The economy has continued to grow since Trump took office, with unemployment rates down, growth rising and the stock market up — though it closed down about 135 points on Thursday.
The Fed has hiked interest rates twice this year and could jack the rate up twice more before year’s end.
Trump told CNBC the hikes could damage America’s ongoing economic recovery from the Great Recession.
“I’m not thrilled. Because we go up and every time you go up they want to raise rates again. I don’t really — I am not happy about it. But at the same time I’m letting them do what they feel is best,” Trump said.
“Now I’m just saying the same thing that I would have said as a private citizen,” he said, asserting that he didn’t care about precedent.
“So somebody would say, ‘Oh, maybe you shouldn’t say that as president. I couldn’t care less what they say, because my views haven’t changed. I don’t like all of this work that we’re putting into the economy and then I see rates going up,” he said.
Powell has said he believes the economy is strong enough for the Fed to continue normalizing rates, which were held at a historically low level during the recovery.
But Trump — in a tit-for-tat tariff war with the EU, China, Mexico and Canada — said he was worried that the timing put the US at a “disadvantage” while the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan maintain loose monetary policy, the network reported.
With Post Wires
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